Cuesta-Rey is one of the oldest brands in the J.C. Newman Cigar Company portfolio. The brand was founded in 1884 by Spaniard Angel LaMadrid Caesura and Peregrino Ray. Cuesta had apprenticed in cigar making in Cuba before meeting Rey. The duo formed the company in the Ybor City district of Tampa, Florida. The company would produce “Clear Havana” cigars (U.S. made cigars using Cuban tobacco). In 1958, the Cuesta-Rey brand was sold to J.C. Newman and today the cigars are produced out of the Dominican Republic. Today, we take a closer look at one of the Cuesta-Rey brand’s cigars, the Caesura-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown in the No. 60 (Toro) size.
There are three lines under J.C. Newman’s Cuesta-Rey brand: Cuesta-Rey Cabinet Selection (featuring an African-grown Cameroon wrapper), Cuesta-Rey Centenario (available in Connecticut Shade or Connecticut Broadleaf), and the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown. The Centro Fino uses wrapper from the center of the tobacco plant which J.C. Newman says is the most flavorful tobacco from the plant. The line is positioned as a bolder offering when compared against the milder Centenario line.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
Blend and Origin
The “Centro Fino” Sungrown wrapper originates from a Sumatran seed grown in the Quevedo region of Ecuador. The remainder of the blend includes Dominican-grown tobaccos, including aged high priming ligero in the filler.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Centro Fino Sungrown
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
The Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino is available in four sizes. Each is presented in 10-count boxes except for the Captiva which is presented in 20-count boxes.
Pyramid No. 9: 6 1/4 x 52
Centro Fino No. 60: 6 x 50
Robusto No. 7: 4 1/2 x 50
Captiva: 6 1/8 x 42 (Tubo)
The Ecuadorian Centro Fino Sungrown wrapper of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 had a dark brown, almost mahogany quality to it. There were some oils on the surface. The wrapper was somewhat bumpy with some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
There are two bands on the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown. The primary band contains a portrait of a Latin woman on a maroon background with some yellow trim on the sides. Above the portrait is the text “CUESTA-REY” in black font on a yellow background. On the lower part of the portrait is the text “Vintage” in black cursive font. Just below the portrait is the text “CENTRO FINO” in yellow font. Outside the portrait on the upper left and right side are green palm trees on a sky blue background. The left and right side of the band is maroon with gold and green striping near the upper and lower portions. The left side of the band has the text “HAND MADE” while the right side has the text “REPUBLICA DOMINICANA” – each in white font.
The secondary band is also maroon and contains black and gold trim near the edges. On the center of the band is the text “CENTRO FINO SUNGROWN” in yellow font.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of sweet dark fruit, natural tobacco, wood, and baker’s spice. Overall I found this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to toast the foot of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 and see what the subsequent smoking phase would have in store.
The Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 started out with a mix of baker’s spice, white pepper, natural tobacco, dark fruit, wood, and a savory note. Early on the natural tobacco and baker’s spice took over as the primary notes. Eventually the natural tobacco took over as the sole primary note. There was a richness to the natural tobacco. The baker’s spice settled in the background with the white pepper, dark fruit, wood, and savory notes. Later in the first third, the dark fruit became more of citrus sweetness. Meanwhile there was an additional layer of white pepper on the retro-hale.
During the second third of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60, the natural tobacco remained the sole primary note. There was a slight increase in the white pepper on the tongue. By the second half, the natural tobacco notes lost some of its richness. Meanwhile the savory notes that were present early on dissipated.
During the last third the natural tobacco notes remained primary. The white pepper, bakers spice, citrus, and wood notes remained in the background. This is the way the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 was a cigar that did require several touch-ups to maintain a straight burn path and straight burn line. This was a cigar that needed slightly above the normal amount of touch-ups that should be required during a cigar experience. The resulting ash was firm and light gray in color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
Overall the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 had an open draw. While I wouldn’t categorize this as a loose draw, I do prefer a little more in the way of resistance on a draw. In the end, there were no adverse effects on the overall smoking experience.
Strength and Body
While the Centro Fino Sungrown is positioned as a bolder smoke than its Centenario sibling, I would say this boldness translates to the flavors and specifically the body. The Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 delivered a medium-bodied smoking experience from start to finish. On the other hand, this was not a cigar that was bold from a nicotine standpoint and as a result, the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60 delivered mild to medium strength.
There was not a lot of variance in the intensity levels during the smoking experience of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 60. In terms of strength versus body, the body definitely maintained the edge.
The Cuesta-Rey has been a mainstay in the J.C. Newman portfolio for sometime. This is a cigar that has a lot to offer when one sits down and focuses on the smoking experience. It’s a cigar that delivers better flavor in the first half than the second half. The first half is going to provide much more in the way of richness and savoriness, while the second half becomes more of an ordinary smoke. In the end, this is still a solid offering. At $7.45, it’s a cigar I could recommend to the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke and purchase again.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Bakers Spice, Wood, White Pepper, Dark Fruit, Citrus, Savory Notes
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Mild to Medium
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Source: J.C. Newman Cigar Company
Brand Reference: Cuesta-Rey
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted